All the little (dolce) things

Things are different now. The kids are getting older and don’t need me to remind them to shower, eat or even when to go to bed. The husband and I are still running them each to his and her activities: sports, music, a friend’s house. He and I see each other some days only in passing through this house, to drop off a bass, a baseball bag, soccer gear before making the next practice or game.

I gently ease my way out of this house before dawn, not unlike a cat burglar most mornings to make it in time for the opening shift of the cafe on the east side. I wash the floors and the toilets, put on the coffee, set out the pastries and switch on the open sign by 6:30. I note to myself that the kids and the husband are just now rising. The night before these shifts my bedtime is that of a well-scheduled toddler’s. I’m bathed and asleep most nights before 9 leaving the husband on the couch to watch a week’s worth of TV he’s DVR’d for us.

Auggie, our oldest, is about to become a licensed driver and is looking to have a summer job. Fritz and Harriet are still kids. All three now do their own laundry. And that, my friends, is going well. Except now there is chewing gum stuck to the inside of the dryer that the husband has been prying off for the past two days. I have since banned all gum from this house.

I am baking and cooking on my days off. I’ve recently purchased Dolce Italiano–Desserts from the Babbo Kitchen, a cookbook by the late Gina DePalma. I’ve made her baci di cioccolato (chocolate kisses) and pane di pasqua (Easter bread). In the past and not from this book, I’ve made her sausage and swiss chard soup, and her fig and walnut biscotti which I blogged about last year

Her recipes bring me home to my Italian-American roots–to the family table. To a way of cooking and eating that I understand and know in my bones. Seasonal ingredients prepared simply by hard-working, thick hands. Nothing fancy, only good and made with passion, love and dedication to one’s family.

Whenever I feel lost or unsure of who I am, who I’ve become, I only have to go to my kitchen and I’m there with the women in my family wisely telling me to sit down and have a little something to eat. And asking “When’s the last time you went to the bathroom?” And when I reluctantly tell them, they say “Really? No wonder you have such problems. Go… try and go…you’ll feel better.”

And just when I think they’re all crazy–the problems of the world cannot be solved by a trip to the bathroom. I feel better and think maybe they’re on to something after all.


4 thoughts on “All the little (dolce) things

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